Glamping in Anegada: Anegada Beach Club Review

Glamping in Anegada: Anegada Beach Club Review

Go where the rum is strong and the WiFi is weak… now there’s a life motto I can get behind, and one that perfectly describes my next piece of paradise: Anegada in the British Virgin Islands.

Now, I’m not the sort of girl that’s adverse to adventure and a bit of roughing it. Au contraire, far from it, it’s a bit of a pre-requisite for happy island living, but… I love a little luxury as much as anyone and the Glamping at Anegada Beach Club provides the perfect balance.

Despite the scary rumours that circulated in the days post-Irma, and our concerns that the whole island of Anegada might have simply washed away. That fortunately wasn’t the case! The community in Anegada worked tirelessly to get themselves back on their feet quickly and many of the businesses bounced back in the months following the hurricane and threw open their doors to welcome guests! Luckily for me that included Anegada Beach Club, which re-opened February 1st, 2018! It took me a little while to get up there, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to escape for a few days of luxury ‘camping’ in their gorgeous ocean-front tents a couple of weekends ago.

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

I love any excuse for a bit of a staycation in the British Virgin Islands and am fortunate to have a host of islands to choose between, but I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Anegada. Anegada is exactly what you picture when you think of a paradise island and it is the ultimate island getaway, long stretches of white sand, startlingly turquoise waters and having whole beaches to yourselves. Much of the island is beautifully undeveloped (and there aren’t many roads) but then there are pockets, in between the many salt ponds and sandy tracks, where you can find wonderful restaurants and really gorgeous places to stay. Including the beautiful Anegada Beach Club (ABC) which is home to some of the most premium beachfront accommodation around.

Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada in the British Virgin Islands

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Pre-Irma the luxury tents were actually made of canvas – since the storm they have been updated to these gorgeous little cabin/canvas hybrid, with a solid thatched roof and canvas walls – but it still definitely counts as ‘Glamping’.

The tents have a completely open front (mosquito net) which looks over the beach and out to sea, just the most picturesque scene to wake up to! There are roll down canvas walls that you can use if you wish to shut out a bit more of the light, although that would block out a lot of the sea breeze that you’re going to be enjoying, since the tents (unlike the hotel rooms) aren’t air-conditioned.

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Because of the open front to the tents, ABC has rules about how you access your tent and each one has it’s own steps leading from a little path that runs behind them which you must use to stop you walking across the front of the tents adjacent to your own otherwise you can see straight in. You just have to hope that your neighbours listen to instruction to preserve your privacy!

It is also worth noting that, since the walls are made of canvas, and the front of mosquito netting, that the sound really carries from the beach and, in particular, from the beach bar. The canvas also ripples with the wind, which I found quite relaxing but if you’re a light sleeper you might want to bring some ear plugs, and maybe a comfortable eye-mask if you feel like the morning light might bother you. (I enjoyed being up at sunrise, but it isn’t for everyone).

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

The tents are tastefully furnished, a large four-poster bed with mosquito screen in the center of the room with some rustic open wardrobes for clothing and a comfortable day bed sofa. The furniture is all bleached wood for a beachy effect and the cushions have a fish print. There are two small fans to help circulate the air in your tent which are helpful. The little deck at the front of the tent has two swinging hammock chairs which are perfect for relaxing and watching the sun rise.

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Connected to your tent, via a little open walkway, is your bathroom. With a large rainfall shower head and my favourite L’Occitane goodies, it is beautifully rustic but perfectly functional. One of the tents also features two outdoor bathtubs so, if you book early enough to secure that one, you could be enjoying al fresco bathing on your deck.

The staff at Anegada Beach Club were really friendly and helpful, especially Kasha, who looked after us so well during our stay. We were met at the ferry dock when we arrived and there is a shuttle service that you can use if you’d like to eat at nearby restaurants. It runs to the Lobster Trap, and the highly acclaimed Wonky Dog is only footsteps away from there.

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

The food options at ABC are good, but basic, and we enjoyed several meals there during our stay – including the beach BBQ in the evening ($35 per head). While the accommodation at ABC is arguably some of the best on the island. I would suggest that better dining options can be found elsewhere and urge you to explore more of the island and the gastronomic opportunities.

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

It is probably also worth mentioning that ABC has claim to the only swimming pool on the island and that the pool area next to the restaurant is a really lovely place to hang out and enjoy the afternoon. Lounge chairs and swinging hammocks enhance this, as does the close proximity to the bar!

Glamping in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada Beach Club

If you were interested in booking one of the tents at ABC you can find more information about rates and availability here.

Things to do in Anegada –
Watersports:

Anegada is a kite-surfing Mecca due to the fantastic wind conditions and ABC has a kite-boarding school on site, should you fancy giving it a go. If you’re not feeling quite that adventurous you could also try kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or snorkeling. Anegada has some of the best snorkeling in the BVI. Sadly the school wasn’t open when we were there so it looks like we shall have to pay them another visit.

Flamingo Spotting:

Anegada is home to a large flock of flamingos that move around the various salt ponds on the island. Local residents usually know which one they are hiding in and with a little bit of inside knowledge you can go and find them. They really are a beautiful sight, especially when they all take flight.

Eat lobster:

Anegada is known for the best local lobster (Caribbean lobster is different to the cold-water lobster that you might be used to and has no claws for a start, still very delicious though) and every restaurant will serve it during season. There is even an Anegada Lobster Festival at the end of November to celebrate the start of the season. Big Bamboo at Loblolly serves excellent grilled lobster and I have been wanting to try the Lobster Rockerfeller at the Wonky Dog for the longest time…

The Conch pile:

A bi-product of all the local conch-fishing the conch pile is quite the sight. The conch shells have been piling up for hundreds of years, reportedly it features on charts from as far back as the late 1600s. This is where the fishermen clean their catch and dispose of the shells and it is worth a visit!

Getting here –

Anegada is just a short flight in a very small plane from Beef Island (the main airport in the BVI), approximately 12 minutes in fact. There are local airlines, including VI Airlink, Island Birds and FlyBVI, that offer attractive deals for day trips and good value charter flight options. Alternatively you can take the 90-minute ferry ride for $50 round-trip. The schedules can be found here.

Anegada is also a popular destination on sailing charter itineraries. Be sure to check with your charter company as to the best and safest way to get there (you may require a captain) and for more information on where you are allowed to moor.

Do you think you would make the trip to Anegada?

PS. For older Anegada posts click here. As always you can check out more places to visit (and eat) in the BVI in my restaurant guide here.

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Anegada Adventures

Anegada Adventures

One of my absolutely favourite places, and one which I don’t get to visit nearly enough, is Anegada. Fortunately this was briefly remedied last weekend when good friend’s decided to host a birthday celebration up there and the husband and I traveled up for the day to join in…

Anegada is the Northernmost island in the BVI, lying 15 miles North of Virgin Gorda (a mere 9 minute flight away) – it is one of the rare islands in the archipelago that isn’t volcanic and instead is formed of coral and limestone (along with Saba Rock and Sandy Spit). As such it isn’t mountainous, like the rest, but flat – earning it’s name derived from the Spanish word for ‘drowned’ ahogada. *Thanks Wikipedia*

Anyway, enough of the geographical/geological information and more on what makes Anegada such a little beauty.

Anegada is the most sparsely populated of the main islands with a little under 300 residents, add to this the fact that it is probably one of the most difficult islands to get to (ferries run every other day and many charter companies forbid the sailing of their boats to Anegada due to the risk of running aground on the reef) and, as a result, it is not unusual to find yourself entirely alone on one of the long, white stretches of sandy beach such as Cow Wreck (so named because a ship carrying cattle sank just off the shore) or Loblolly.

The (predominantly) sand roads are fun (if a little perilous) to navigate with scooters, available to rent, or if there is a larger group of you the safari buses (pick up trucks with seating in the back for around 8-10 of you, depending on how well you know each other…) are perfect. You are unlikely to see any other traffic, but keep an eye out for cattle and donkeys.

Anegada has the largest coral reef in the Caribbean (Horseshoe Reef), the fourth largest in the world, making it the premier snorkeling spot in the Virgin Islands – teaming with reef fish, Caribbean lobster, turtles and plenty of sharks. In addition to this the large expanse of salt ponds are a perfect spot for the flamingos meaning that there is plenty of local flora and fauna to look at. The flat-calm water and gusting trade winds also make it an incredibly popular location for experienced kite-boarders and other water sports enthusiasts. AdobePhotoshopExpress_5e0d0096c1aa4b768c5859a308ef9376

There are a number of potential hotels that you can stay at on Anegada, but my hands-down favourite is Anegada Beach Club. One of the newest (it was refurbished a couple of years ago) the recent addition of the luxury tents (yes really), with their four-poster beds and decks with hammocks overlooking the beach, has totally elevated the experience making it very hard to beat!

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Our most recent visit to Anegada was probably the most special as, for the first time ever, we got to see the mating Nurse Sharks. None of our group (including the BVIslanders) had any idea that these sharks come into the same secluded spot every year and stay for June and July, meaning an almost guaranteed sighting during those quiet couple of months. Nurse Sharks are harmless and they come so far into the shallows that we got to stand right beside these groups of 5-6ft sharks, who barely seemed to notice that we were there.

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Using the 6ft husband to give an idea of scale… (Rest assured he still has all ten toes)

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Sharks seemingly un-phased by a group of us getting in their faces with cameras…

As a side note, unusually the weather last weekend was very overcast – but this was actually a pleasant surprise. Anegada is absolutely stunning when the sun is shining, but there is also precious little shade which can get a bit overwhelming after a while. I’m already planning my next visit and vowing not to leave it so long this time, there are new restaurants to try (I’m talking about you Wonky Dog) and a tent with my name on it…

(I promise to try and get you some flamingo pics next time!)

For more information about the delightful accommodations at Anegada Beach Club click here.

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